Major League Baseball
Preview
Pittsburgh at Minnesota
When: 8:10 PM ET, Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Where: Target Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota

The Minnesota Twins try to rediscover their home dominance while keeping the Pittsburgh Pirates in trouble on the road when the wild-card contenders begin an interleague series Tuesday. Minnesota dropped two of three to the New York Yankees at Target Field over the weekend but still own 32 victories at home, tied for the third-most in the American League and remains in the second wild card spot.

The Twins could not recover from a brutal 8-5 loss to the Yankees on Saturday in which closer Glen Perkins surrendered four runs in the ninth, dropping the series finale 7-2 on Sunday. Pittsburgh, meanwhile, has also thrived at home but had a recent 1-5 road trip and enter this two-game set at 22-24 in unfamiliar settings. The Pirates managed to recover from that difficult trip by taking three of four from NL East-leading Washington, capped by Sunday's 3-1 win behind starter Gerrit Cole that bolstered its lead in the wild card race. The two teams, which figure to be in the mix as buyers as the trade deadline approaches this week, met for two games in Pittsburgh in May, with the Twins taking both contests.

TV: 8:10 p.m. ET, ROOT (Pittsburgh), FSN North (Minnesota)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Pirates RH Charlie Morton (6-4, 4.59 ERA) vs. Twins RH Mike Pelfrey (5-7, 3.94)

Morton is 0-3 in four starts this month while posting a 5.11 ERA. He was reached for five runs in 6 2/3 innings of a loss at Kansas City on Wednesday, which left him 2-3 with a 7.82 ERA in five road starts. The 31-year-old, who has never faced Minnesota, is 3-8 in 13 career interleague starts.

Pelfrey has dropped five straight decisions and is winless over his last seven starts. He let up two earned runs in six innings of a 5-2 loss at Anaheim in his first start following the All-Star break, but returns to Target Field sporting a 2.22 ERA in eight home appearances this year. Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen is 6-for-14 with three RBIs and two walks against Pelfrey, who is 3-2 with a 4.33 ERA in his seven starts against Pittsburgh.

WALK-OFFS

1. Pirates RHP Mark Melancon converted his 30th straight save opportunity Sunday and leads the majors with 32.

2. McCutchen is batting .262 on the road, compared to .320 at home.

3. Twins CF Aaron Hicks was 5-for-11 with a home run and four RBIs in the series against New York and has hit safely in 13 of his last 17 games.

PREDICTION: Twins 5, Pirates 4
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
Pittsburgh 57-41 W1 35-17 22-24 18-8 17-24 11-2 11-7
Minnesota 52-46 L2 32-18 20-28 13-6 23-22 8-8 8-10
Last Meeting
Pittsburgh Minnesota
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
5/20/15 MIN 4 x PIT 3 .217 1 .620 .213 1 .629
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Pittsburgh J. Harrison .600 6 1.300
Minnesota T. Plouffe .429 3 1.743
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Pittsburgh P. Alvarez 1 2 1
Minnesota J. Mauer 1 3 4
Pitching ERA Avg K
Pittsburgh 4.91 .267 17
Minnesota 2.86 .222 19
Season
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Pittsburgh A. McCutchen .292 101 .876
Minnesota J. Mauer .277 99 .733
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Pittsburgh P. Alvarez 14 38 47
Minnesota B. Dozier 21 72 55
Pitching ERA Avg K
Pittsburgh 3.05 .256 783
Minnesota 3.88 .252 585